By Natnael Fite
Addis Abeba – In a latest press briefing on 11 April, Hailu Adugna, head of Oromia state Communications Affairs Bureau, accused what he referred to as “extremest group” from Amhara state of engaging in activities that are “causing damage.”
The remark from the Communication bureau head came as war of words between officials of the two regional states is intensifying. On 04 April, the Oromia Regional State government issued a stern warning against what it said was “extremist forces operating in the name of Amhara” who are “the main enemies of the Amhara and Ethiopian nations and nationalities.”
In the latest presser on Monday given in Afaan Oromo, Hailu doubled down when he said: “These extremists have caused problems in Kiremu [a Woreda in east Wollaga zone] where they have displaced people. They also created a problem in Horo Guduru zone; they have looted properties. In a similar manner the same thing happened in Fantale.”
Hailu said that Oromia and Amahara regional governments were working in coordination to debunk the agenda created by this ;extremist group”, adding that the Amhara and Oromia regional governments have established “a joint committee to resolve the problem created by Amhara extremists in Korke, Fantale district, East Shewa zone. The committee is working to take legal action against those who are involved in creating the problem,” he said.
“We are not fighting [against] Shane so that more extremists can flourish…we will fight and destroy Shane, in the same manner we will destroy Amhara extremists [that are] causing problems.”Hailu Adugna
Accusation and counter-accusations between officials of the two regional states began intensifying after clashes on 29 March between armed groups from the Minjar Shenkora woreda of North Shewa zone, Amhara regional state, and local militia in the bordering Fentalle woreda, East Shewa zone of Oromia regional state, resulted in the death of at least 26 local militias and members of Oromia police, including the militia commander, Abdisa Ifa, on 29 March.
“From whichever corner they emerge, extremists are enemy of the national unity,” Hailu said without naming the group he is referring to. “The Oromo and Amhara community should fight this extremist ‘group] with this understanding as it will destroy the norm of coexistence between the people that will result in the disintegration of the communities and the country,” he said.
“Extremists, be it religious or nationalists, have an understanding that the country’s unity is the problem.We are fighting extremism; [this] extremism includes religion as well as nationalism and it is the fundamental threat to the country’s unity,” Hailu said.
Speaking on reports of renewed military attack against the rebel group, Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which is referred by officials as “OLF Shene”, Hailu said the “law enforcement operation” was bearing fruit following discussions with communities. “In East Wollega, Kelem wollega, and Horo Guduru zones hard working people have found peace and they want it to continue,” he said.
“We are not fighting [against] Shane so that more extremists can flourish” he said, “we will fight and destroy Shane, in the same manner we will destroy Amhara extremists [that are] causing problems.” AS